Operation Impact: hundreds of impaired drivers on our roads

Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver. In honor of Donna Jean Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

One of the best anti DUI commercials I’ve ever seen. It’s Australian. It’s powerful and moving. I cry every time I watch it. A bit long but it’s well worth the watch!

Operation Impact 2011

Operation Impact is a 4-day Canadian road safety campaign that takes place starting the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend and ending on the Monday evening. It’s an annual collaborative effort by Canadian Police Services to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) across the country conduct checkpoints to enforce the main causes of serious injury and fatal collisions: alcohol and drug impaired driving, seat belt use and all aspects of aggressive and distracted driving meant to deter impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers. Here are some cross-country results from this year’s blitz (Oct 7-10, 2011) that I was able to track down:

Great news on the front that many impaired drivers were removed from roadways before they could kill anyone but so very desperately sad that there were at least 305 impaired drivers on our Canadian roads over the long weekend…ugh!

Here’s the rest of this week’s line up of impaired driving news.

Impaired Driving Causing Death

  • 1 sentenced
    • Ponoka, AB: 38-year-old man sentenced to 33 months in prison and a 3-year driving ban after being found guilty of impaired driving causing death for the death of his 75-year-old MOTHER! She was hit by a tractor trailer that was being moved.
  • 2 charged
    • Quebec City, PQ: 20ish-year-old woman charged with impaired driving causing death after the car she was driving flipped over killing her 20-something-year-old passenger.
    • Thetford Mines, PQ: 28-year-old man charged with impaired driving causing the death of his twin brother. Driving impaired, his truck went off the road and his twin brother was ejected and killed. They brothers were returning home after a party.
  • 1 pleaded not-guilty
    • Langford, BC: 35-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to impaired driving causing death after her car crossed the center line and ran head-on into a 47-year-old man on a motorcycle who died at the scene. The defence is challenging how the RCMP collected evidence in relation to the alleged impairment. Again, we find defence lawyers exploiting the any number of LOOPHOLES that exist for impaired drivers to get away with the most serious of offences! MAKES ME SICK! You can read more about this loophole here.

Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm

  • 1 sentenced
    • Regina, SK: 19-year-old man was sentenced to a 3-year probation term, 3-year driving ban, 150 hours of community service and a $2500 fine after he pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing bodily harm. After reeling from a breakup with his girlfriend, he drank heavily, smoked pot and then drove his father’s car clipping the open door of a parked vehicle sending the door flying into a 48-year old man who was putting his toddler grandson in his car. The victim suffered a badly broken leg, has undergone 4 surgeries and skin grafts and has lost his dream of becoming a police officer.
  • 2 charged
    • Toronto, ON: A man was charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm after his vehicle jumped the sidewalk and struck a pedestrian. The woman suffered non life-threatening injuries.
    • Moncton, NB: 44-year-old woman charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm and failing the breathalyzer after causing a crash that resulted in bodily harm of two teenagers (15 and 16).
  • 1 conviction appealed
    • Monastery, NS: 33-year old man who was found guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm after a crash left a woman with serious injuries in 2009 will get a new trial. He was sentenced to 8 months in jail, 18 months probation and a 4-year driving ban. But he won an appeal of his conviction when the appeal court judge ruled there was a Charter of Rights violation and the breath sample should not have been admitted into trial. Loophole STRIKES again!

Impaired Driving

  • 5 sentenced
    • Sarnia, ON: 25-year-old man sentenced to $1500 fine and 1-year driving ban after pleading guilty to impaired driving. When caught, his vehicle was littered with empty beer bottles.
    • New Germany, NS: 86-year-old man fined $1000 for impaired driving, $500 for dangerous driving and given a 1-year driving ban after he drove over a guard rail, cut into traffic, and rammed into a house while driving impaired. It’s unlikely he’ll get his license back.
    • Kingston, ON: 44-year-old sentenced to 4 months in jail and a 1-year driving ban after being found guilty of impaired driving, driving while suspended, vehicle theft, and violating probation.
    • Guelph, ON: 30-year-old woman was sentenced to 30 days in jail (served on weekends) and a 2-year driving ban after she pleaded guilty to impaired driving (she was 3 times the legal limit) after getting busted when she rolled her car. This was her second conviction – first was in 2009.
    • Newmarket, ON: 38-year-old woman found guilty of impaired driving received $1000 fine and a 1-year driving ban.
  • 15 charged 
    • Sudbury, ON: 3 people charged (51-year-old man, 27-year-old man, and 67-year-old woman) with impaired driving without incident.
    • Oshawa, ON: 30-year-old man charged with impaired driving along with other serious charges after side-swiping another vehicle and failing to remain at a collision.
    • Saanich, BC: 24-year-old charged with refusing to provide a breath sample (same as impaired driving) after trying 19 TIMES to give a breath sample.
    • Walters Falls, ON: 46-year-old woman charged with impaired driving after trying to outrun police.
    • Napanee, ON: 19-year-old man faces charges including dangerous driving, impaired driving, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident after rolling her car.
    • Apsley, ON: 64-year-old woman charged with impaired driving after her vehicle veered off the road and into a ditch before rolling over.
    • Glanbrook, ON: 60-year-old man charged with impaired driving and multiple weapon offences after being stopped by a RIDE program.
    • Saskatoon-Humboldt, SK: 45-year-old man and former MP charged with impaired driving.
    • Waterloo, ON: 18-year-old man charged with impaired driving after a crash that sent his car into a tree on a home’s front lawn.
    • Chatham, ON: 61-year-old man charged with impaired driving (near a school zone no less…moron), refusing to provide a breath sample and driving without a license.
    • Orangeville, ON: 18-year-old man is charged with impaired driving and received an automatic 90-day license suspension after losing control of a Ford Expedition and veering off-road striking multiple trees, 2 utility boxes, a no parking sign, guard rail, and a residential fence before finally coming to a stop when it hit a pool in someone’s backyard!
    • Vancouver Island, BC: 34-year-old man charged with impaired driving after he crashed a Columbia Fuels tanker truck spilling 40,000 litres of gasoline into the Goldsteam River.
    • Toronto, ON: 18-year-old man charged with impaired driving and failure to remain at the scene after causing 2 separate crashes; one where a 19-year-old woman was trapped in the car and suffered injuries to her lower body.
  • 1 pleaded guilty
    • Hamiton, ON: 46-year-old woman, former McMaster University dean’s assistant, pleaded guilty to impaired driving (second offence – first office was in 2008) and was lucky she didn’t kill her 10-year-old niece who said her aunt “fell asleep at the wheel” when she struck a snow bank. The little girl exited the car scared. She will be sentenced in January 2012 and is facing a possible jail sentence.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), and on the Web.

How has impaired driving affected your life? Please…share…I want to know!

Comments

  1. As always Natalie, the important information you share on this page adds strength to the campaign against drunk drivers. Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow…that video is so sad, but very important. I recently quit drinking because I never want to be responsible for anything like this. I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt someone by my negligence. Nothing is worth that. Your statistics are a good reminder that there is still much to do. I am glad you will not let your mother-in-laws life become just another statistic. We need to constantly be reminded that there are poor victims whose life has been cut short due to drinking and driving.

    • Thank you very much for your support and super kind words Annie. I really appreciate it and good for you for being diligent and uber responsible! 🙂 It is sad that there is much work still to be done but I have all faith that we’ll get there! 🙂

  3. Annie, that’s awesome. I always wonder, when I’m reading this blog post, what those people are going to tell themselves for the rest of their lives. They killed someone. I could never live with myself if that happened. Especially if it was something I could easily prevent – like not driving impaired.

    There is still a lot of work to be done, but one by one, it can happen. Way to go, Natalie!

  4. Oh Natalie, these are shocking numbers! My heart hurts for all the people affected by these neglient drivers.

    Thanks for opening my eyes today.

  5. Thank you for your campaign on this issue. Aussies have a “one for the road” mentality that is slowly losing its grip, but it still angers me when people I know will still drive after drinking. I have zero tolerance for that kind of behaviour because it is so supremely selfish and ultimately cruel. People think they are ok to drive, but they miss the point. Mostly they are kind people who are stupid enough to think they are only gambling with their own lives. It doesn’t occur to them that they are gambling with the lives of others, like your mother-in-law and everyone who loved her. I wish everyone would watch this video. It made me cry. Maybe it would make us all think twice.

    • Wow Naomi – thank you for the encouraging comment! Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads these posts so it’s wonderful to know that people out there support the campaign! I agree, people don’t realize that when they “think” they are ok to drive, they aren’t taking chances with only their lives (if that were the case, have at er’!) but they are risking the lives of innocent people! And honestly…is it ever really worth the risk?!?! That’s what I don’t get because there are ALWAYS other options right there…
      Drinking and driving is PURE selfish laziness….it’s digusting!
      Thanks for standing up against it with me!
      I know…I always cry at that commercial no matter how many times I see it!

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